Investing.com - The pound ended the week little changed against the dollar on Friday as concerns over the crisis in Ukraine and fears over an economic slowdown in China dampened risk appetite.
GBP/USD ended Friday’s session at 1.6644, up 0.13% after falling to lows of 1.6587 earlier. For the week, the pair edged up 0.05%.
Cable was likely to find support at 1.6567, Wednesday’s low and a one-month low and resistance at 1.6740.
Investor sentiment was hit as weak economic reports from China raised fresh concerns over the strength of the world’s second-largest economy. On Thursday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang warned that the economy faced "severe challenges" in 2014.
Fears over problems in China’s financial sector also sapped risk appetite following the country’s first domestic bond default this month.
Meanwhile, tensions between Russia and the West remained high ahead of Sunday''s referendum in Ukraine’s Crimea region, now controlled by pro-Russian forces, on whether citizens want to join Russia.
The referendum has been condemned as "illegal" by Kiev and the West and is expected to prompt the west to impose sanctions on Russia.
In the U.S., data on Friday showed that consumer sentiment declined unexpectedly in March.
The University of Michigan consumer sentiment index ticked down to 79.9, from the 81.6 final reading in February. Analysts had expected the index to improve to 82.0.
Earlier Friday, data showed that the U.K. trade deficit widened to almost 10 billion pounds in January, compared to expectations for a deficit of 8.6 billion pounds, as exports dropped to the lowest in one-and-a-half years.
In the week ahead, investors will be looking ahead to Wednesday’s monetary policy announcement by the Federal Reserve. The bank is also to publish its economic forecasts.
The U.K. is to release data on employment and the Bank of England is to publish the minutes of its latest monetary policy meeting.
Ahead of the coming week, Investing.com has compiled a list of these and other significant events likely to affect the markets.
Monday, March 17
The U.S. is to publish data on manufacturing activity in the Empire State, as well as reports on industrial production and long term securities transactions.
Tuesday, March 18
The U.S. is to produce data on consumer inflation, in addition to reports on building permits and housing starts.
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney is to speak at an event in London.
Wednesday, March 19
The U.K. is to release official data on the change in the number of people unemployed and the unemployment rate, as well as data on average earnings and public sector borrowing. Meanwhile, the Bank of England is to publish the minutes of its most recent policy setting meeting.
The Federal Reserve is to announce its federal funds rate and publish economic forecasts for inflation and growth. The Fed statement is to be followed by a press conference with Chair Janet Yellen.
Thursday, March 20
The U.K. is to release private sector data on industrial order expectations. The U.K. government is to make its annual budget statement.
The U.S. is to publish the weekly report on initial jobless claims, as well as data on existing home sales and manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia region.
Friday, March 21
The U.K. is round up the week with data on public sector net borrowing.
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